An hour ago at the hardware store, I had bought a transparent plastic container of ten, each wrapped in brown paper, each with and edge sharp as a wasp's sting. Carefully I unwrapped the creased paper jacket in which the first lay, savoring in advance the ready-made high it would bring, as if I were sitting down to a mast beef dinner.
I could still feel the high anticipation as I settled into the cushion of my seat and puled my ankle onto my lap, adroitly fashioning a lotus position beneath the steering wheel. I made a light test run. After a second, delicate ruby beads strung out along my skin. And then a deep breath before I made the first straight controlled shot, its length just two thumb's lengths, through this level of my skin was something like cloth ripping; it made me grind my lip between my teeth. On the inside of my ankle, the straight white lips of the cut opened and there was quick rush of bloof from the wound.
"Nice color", said my inner voice. "Go back and do it again, a little deeper this time."
I felt the next sharp sting and took a deep breath; my face flushed. In my life, in that moment, nothing was happening except this. I hated doing it. I loved doing it. I paused then; tears watered in my eyes as I trembled in the blank purity of the instant. Exhaled then, a long bow outward. Flooded with pleasure. With my windshield running rain and the inside windows staeming up, I was in a cocoon. Unobserved. My despair seeped out, if only for a moment. I was bringing Death close, drawing him deep within the circle of my arms.
Half in love, Linda Gray Sexton.